Colourful laundry detergent pods are becoming an increasingly common hazard for children, according to the B.C. Drug and Poison Information Centre.
Since 2012, there has been a significant increase in the number of emergency room visits involving children under the age of 6, its statistics show.
There were 59 calls in 2012, 128 in 2013, 137 in 2014 and 152 last year.
“The big risk is if a child bites into a laundry pod and it sprays out detergent, it can cause severe welling in the back of the throat and interfere with a chlid’s breathing,” Dr. Roy Purssell, the centre’s medical lead, said in a news release. “Parents may see these pods as easy and convenient to use, but young children can confuse them with toys or candy.”
Health Canada first warned parents and caregivers in 2012 about the hazards of the miniature detergent packs, saying kids are drawn to the bright colours and squishy texture.
The agency advised homeowners to store these detergent packs where they can’t be found or swallowed, and that all cleaning products should be stored in a locked cabinet or drawer with a child safety latch.